Direct Service & Support
All Direct Service volunteers work one, five hour shift per week at the Providence Community Care Center (PCCC) in Downtown Olympia.
Direct Service volunteers staff the PCCC every Monday through Wednesday between 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Intake Advocates work to make SideWalk a welcoming, safe, and supportive space for our clients. Many of our Intake volunteers have worked with SideWalk for years, helping clients fill out intake paperwork, have conversations with clients while they wait to see a navigator, and help out with administrative tasks. To be able to do this, new Intake Volunteers receive 15 hours of training before they start serving our clients.
All of our Navigators started out as Intake Advocates. Navigators work directly with our clients to help them find pathways through the both the homeless services system and SideWalk’s process of funding. Their work is more complicated, requiring more experience, knowledge and training. It can take about a year for a new Intake volunteers to acquire the skills needed for the position. Before a Intake Advocate can become a Navigator, they attend another training and shadow with more experienced volunteers, deepening their knowledge on how to have sometimes difficult conversations with our clients. Navigators also inform and connect clients with wrap-around services that can help people produce stability after they have been rehoused. While all of our volunteers are critical to carrying out the mission to end homelessness in Thurston County, SideWalk’s Navigators are the keystone that allows clients to receive funding.
SideWalk, like all social service organizations, produces a lot of paperwork. The Volunteer Support position is responsible for managing this load. Supporting the clerical needs of our service, Volunteer Support fields phone calls, scans documents and helps with refiling. While they don’t often work with clients face-to-face, their level of knowledge of our procedure is similar to that of a Navigator. They work closely with the Operations Manager, sitting side-by-side with them to support the work of all of the other volunteers
Team Leads act as a sort of floor manager for the SideWalk volunteers working at the PCCC. Some of them are also Navigators—all have received the training needed to fill the role. Team Leads relieve volunteers so they can take breaks, field questions that other volunteers have, problem solve, and conduct the daily debriefing sessions that take place at the end of each shift. They’re often as experienced as the Operations Managers and know SideWalk’s policy and procedure backwards and forwards.
Some of our clients need more support, and SideWalk offers that support for those that say they would like it. Acting as a ‘light touch’ case manager for these clients, Stability Advocates check in with clients over the phone to see how they are doing and inquire if they need additional support from other social services organizations. In essence, they are Navigators that work with clients after they have been housed.
SideWalk has a lot of clerical needs—Data Entry volunteers assist Staff at our administrative office by finalizing the process that started at the PCCC. We store some information in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a statewide database that tracks who and how many people are using services. Data Entry volunteers help out with this task. While this work doesn’t involve direct service, volunteers do get a behind the scenes look at how things work at SideWalk by working with our Information Specialist and Data Analyst.
Development & Community Outreach
Our needs for Development and Community Outreach Volunteers change from month to month. If you only have time to work once a month or aren’t available during our service hours, you can still lend a hand to ending homelessness in Olympia.
Fundraising is key to supporting the mission to end homelessness in Thurston County. Volunteers that contribute to this work get to feel the rush of satisfaction when they secure donations and add to the total during a fund drive.
SideWalk’s work can’t happen without volunteers and you can’t get volunteers unless you recruit them! This position gives you an opportunity to talk to people in our community about the homeless situation in Thurston County and foster interest in what is a growing concern.
Event Staffing and Planning
SideWalk hosts two fundraising events annually, Gingerbread Village and Love for a Change. These events rely heavily on volunteer support and are a blast! A great chance to help out if you can’t commit to a weekly shift.
SideWalk doesn’t have a staff grant writer. We’re looking for someone who has experience in this area to contribute to the cause of ending homelessness. Every extra dollar we can raise will help more people become housed.
Media Development (Design, Photography, Video, Audio)
Getting the word out requires media to support the efforts of our volunteers. If you have experience in these areas, come help out with the development of our marketing materials!
We need to get the word out that homelessness can be solved. Canvassers will help educate the citizens of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater about how SideWalk is tackling this issue.